Crest Nicholson to reopen sites as house moves permitted

Crest Nicholson has become the latest major housebuilder to announce it will recommence work.

The firm closed all its sites in April when it said it had “become impractical to maintain operations” due to “government’s advice on moving home, the widespread deferral of mortgage approvals and continued disruption to our supply chain”.

However, the business said in a market update, it had developed a detailed set of working practices and protocols so sites can operate in line with the latest safety guidance from the authorities and the Construction Leadership Council.

Today housing secretary Robert Jenrick lifted restrictions on house moves in England. All buyers and renters are now be able to complete purchases and view properties in person, while estate agents, conveyancers and removals firms have been given permission to return to work, but must follow social distancing guidelines.

Crest Nicholson will begin a phased remobilisation of its projects from Monday (18 May 2020). This, it said, will give it time to make the necessary adjustments to site safety and “to properly train [its] employees, suppliers and subcontractors on the new requirements and ways of working.”

The housebuilder added that it will actively monitor compliance with its new working practices.

In a separate market statement, rivals Taylor Wimpey revealed over 90 per cent of its sites in England and Wales are now active.

The housebuilder, who announced a “phased return to construction” last month, welcomed the government’s decision to encourage local authorities to extend site working hours.

This “will help us to reduce risk and reduce the usage of public transport as we can reduce the number of people on sites at peak times and improve efficiency”, it added.

Countryside restarted site operations this week, opening sites on a limited and phased basis.

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